The Friends of Cambridge Athletics (FOCA) annual ‘Walk-a-thon’ fund raiser was transformed this year into what all experienced as a more meaningful ‘Walk & Serve-a-Thon’. Over 350 athletes and coaches representing all fall CRLS athletics programs gathered Sunday morning at the Fresh Pond Water Treatment Facility. After mingling and turning in pledge sheets to eager parent volunteers, the athletes fanned out across the western and northern ends of the city lead by staff/volunteers, coaches and their team captains.

A majority of the Serve-a-Thon work was to assist in the cleanup of open space areas which are frequently used by the Teams and the community.  Clean-up occurred at the Alewife Brook Reservation by the Crew and Sailing Teams, at Russell and Rindge Fields by the Football Team and at Danehy Park by the Soccer, Volley Ball and Fencing Teams, where the Park was strewn with litter because of  a windy Danehy Park Day on Saturday. Other Serve-a-thon efforts included the Cross Country Team assisting with a road race in Central Square, the Novice Crew Team spreading mulch from Glacken Field to Fresh Pond, and the Golf Team assisting with maintenance at the Fresh Pond Golf Club.

One highlight of the Serve-a-thon was a small group of football players practicing open field tackling techniques with the seniors at Neville Center.  Another was extracted items from the Alewife Brook Reservation such as a DVD player and sofa (which seem to go together rather well). The athletes also found so many coffee cups found that they discussed the idea of an appeal to vendors to encourage the elimination of the use of Styrofoam cups and to take action to discourage littering.

Aside from providing needed service to area parks and facilities, the athletes and coaches embraced what could be a new norm and culture in which CRLS teams come together not only for camaraderie,  fitness and competition, but also to benefit the our community in addition to having a great deal of fun.